These Two Chairs

We have thought about buying a couch for as long as we’ve lived here.

I spent time cleaning over the weekend, and then did some rearranging of the den. As I was moving furniture around, I remembered the couch sitting here the first time we saw this house. It sat right underneath the window sill, and ran the length of the wall. Three years later, we still haven’t bought a couch. 😂

Sitting at the coffee table this morning, I looked across the table at her chair. It was empty. She is out, living her life, which I want her to do. She called and was excited about new tires for her Jeep. Her father took her tire shopping, and I sat and listened as she described every detail. That’s my girl excited about tires!

The main reason we haven’t bought a couch is these two chairs. They were designed and made around 15 years ago, for a formal living room which you can read about here. They are extra wide and the cushions are stuffed with down, so you can curl up and never leave. If we get a couch, they will have to go into storage, because neither of us can part with them.

These two chairs have held us up during every ‘love of my life’ breakup. They are wide enough to hold a box of tissues and a blanket. The fabric is formal, so I looked into having them recovered, and because they are so well made, the estimate started at $800 per chair. New fabric is not in their future.

Nowadays, her chair is empty more often than not, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Through the years, the one place we always go to be seen and supported is these two chairs.

The Wrong Screen

The main reason I joined the Fearless community was to confirm what’s meaningful and rediscover my meaningful work. I knew writing was meaningful, but it doesn’t feel like work, hence the confusion.

I struggled for a while finding time to blog. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the changes happening within my job, but here’s what I know today. There’s no amount of money worth taking up all of my time.

Writing is not something I try to find time for, it’s what I want to do. It’s about allowing a space to open, sitting down in that space and not leaving until I’m out of words. It’s a sacred space to let the words spill, and spill they do.

Taking time to write in our lives gives us the time of our lives.

Julia Cameron-The Writer’s Life
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

It’s a cool morning in Texas halleluiah!

The front door swung open early to let the cool breeze wash over the inside of our home. Our house cat, Chombus, loves sitting in front of the screen door. I noticed him staring intently at something on the front porch, so I walked over to investigate his fascination.

It was a twig rocking back and forth, being moved by the wind. Being an indoor cat, he’s never experienced a twig, so I opened the door and brought it inside to lay it on the floor in front of him. He moved it around and tried to bite it, just doing cat things to the twig.

That’s the kind of life I enjoy, where I’m never too busy to hand our cat a twig. As I finish typing this up to go back to my work, I can’t really classify writing as meaningful work. It doesn’t feel like work but is packed full of meaning.

There’s meaningful moments within our everyday life. It’s a matter of stepping away from the computer screen and standing in front of the screen door. Thank you Chombus, (the cat) for reminding me this morning not to spend too much time in front of the wrong screen.

Happy Friday my darlings. ~ Big love! Barb

The Seeds of Success by Og Mandino

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God, I thank you for this day.

I know I have not accomplished as yet all you expect of me, and if that is your reason for bathing me in the fresh dew of another dawn, I am most grateful.

I am prepared at last, to make you proud of me.

I will forget yesterday, with all it’s trial and tribulations, aggravations and setbacks, angers and frustrations. The past is already a dream from which I can neither retrieve a single word nor erase any foolish deeds.

I will resolve, however, that if I have injured anyone yesterday through my thoughtlessness, I will not let this day’s sun set before I make amends, and nothing I do today will be of greater importance.

I will not fret the future. My success and happiness does not depend on straining to see what lurks dimly on the horizon, but to do, this day, what lies clearly at hand.

I will treasure this day, for it is all I have. I know that’s it’s rushing hours cannot be accumulated or stored, like precious grain, for future use.

I will live as all good actors do when they are on stage-only in the moment. I cannot perform at my best today by regretting my previous act’s mistakes or worrying about the scene to come.

I will embrace today’s difficult tasks, take off my coat, and make dust in the world. I will remember that the busier I am, the less harm I am apt to suffer, the tastier will be my food, the sweeter my sleep, and the better satisfied I will be with my place in the world.

I will free myself today from slavery to the clock and calendar. Although I will plan this day in order to conserve my steps and energy, I will begin to measure my life in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not seasons; in feelings, not figures on a dial.

I will remain aware of how little it takes to make this a happy day. Never will I pursue happiness, because it is not a goal, just a by-product, and there is no happiness in having or in getting, only in giving.

I will run from no danger I might encounter today, because I am certain that nothing will happen to me that I am not equipped to handle with your help. Just as any gem is polished by friction, I am certain to become more valuable through this day’s adversities, and if you close one door, you always open another for me.

I will live this day as if it were Christmas. I will be a giver of gifts and deliver to my enemies the gift of forgiveness; my opponents, tolerance; my friends, a smile; my children, a good example, and every gift will be wrapped with unconditional love.

I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day.

I will treat today as a priceless violin. One may draw harmony from it and another, discord, yet no one will blame the instrument. Life is the same, and if I play it correctly, it will forth beauty, but if I play it ignorantly, it will produce ugliness.

I will condition myself to look on every problem I encounter today as no more than a pebble in my shoe. I remember the pain, so harsh I could hardly walk, and recall my surprise when I removed my shoe and found only a grain of sand.

I will work convinced that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. To do anything today that is truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in the gusto and scramble through as well as I can.

I will face the world with goals set for this day, but they will be attainable ones, not the vague, impossible variety declared by those who make a career of failure. I realize that you always try me a little first, to see what I would do with a lot.

I will never hide my talents. If I am silent, I am forgotten, if I do not advance, I will fall back. If I walk away from any challenge today, my self-esteem will be forever scarred, and if I cease to grow, even a little, I will become smaller. I reject the stationary position because it is always the beginning of the end.

I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today. I know that the world is a looking-glass and gives back to me the reflection of my own soul. Now I understand the secret of correcting the attitude of others and that is to correct my own.

I will turn away from any temptation today that might cause me to break my word or lose my self-respect. I am positive that the only thing I possess more valuable than my life is my honor.

I will work this day with all my strength, content in the knowledge that life does not consist of wallowing in the past or peering anxiously at the future. It is appalling to contemplate the great number of painful steps by which one arrives at a truth so old, so obvious, and so frequently expressed. Whatever it offers, little or much, my life is now.

I will pause whenever I am feeling sorry for myself today, and remember that this is the only day I have and must play it to the fullest. What my part may signify in the great whole. I may not recognize, but I am here to play it and now is the time.

I will count this day a separate life.

I will remember that those who have fewest regrets are those who take each moment as it comes for all that it’s worth.

This is my day!

These are my seeds.

Thank you, God, for this precious garden of time.

Them Three Days

This is the first time, in three days, I’ve turned on my laptop. I pulled back my bedroom drapes this morning, just to make sure there was still a world. I’ve been asleep for 3 days.

Before Chemo, this would never have happened. Oh sure, I could take a nap every now and then, but to allow my body to curl up and just sleep? A toothache was the culprit, but is getting better. I have heard that Chemo is hard on your teeth, but I wasn’t prepared for this.

I lit some of my favorite candles, and just went with it.

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My sponsor told me years ago, a lot can happen in 3 days. She would always suggest, waiting 3 days before making any monumental decisions, or taking action. Something would happen to give me a revelation, or the time would cause it’s importance to fall away.

One thing I wanted to accomplish this week was give my daughter a ‘Birthday week.’ I don’t believe I’ve ever done it before, maybe when she was little, but she turns 17, August 8th. So, I went around to different shops, and collected 7 little things I thought she would like. Little things to remind her of who she is, where we’ve been, and where we’re headed.

I had the clarity of mind, to write a note about the item, which is all the writing I’ve done, up until now. I loved writing her the note more than anything, because the words just flowed from my heart to hers. She got choked up a couple of times, but there should be emotion in our writing. I’m so grateful to have been able to do that for her each day.

Today is Day 3, of her birthday week, and I’m having trouble deciding what to give her next. I’m thinking it will be the LED sign that says, “No Regrets.” I want her to know at this young age, to live a life of no regrets.

That means doing things that scare you sometimes, like Chemo, but I can honestly say, I have no regrets in my life. Just keep living, loving, and learning.

Stay the Path

Today is my last day on “the job.” I received a text lastnight saying they had hired someone to take my place. It’s a good thing I don’t get offended anymore.

I knew it was only temporary. Stepping in when it was needed, and helping to hold together what was in place. My life is full, so doing this alongside everything else was a challenge.

Knowing it was a temporary assignment, I was able to do the best I could, seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. You may laugh at this scenario, because I did, but picture this. I had two laptops set up in the house. One was my own personal laptop, that I write on, encourage others on my Letitgocoach Facebook page, and nurture my world through.

The other was one from this job. It housed everything work related to the job, and made a lot of noise. It dinged everytime an email, or voicemail came into that office. When I first took it into my possession, the lady that had it before me had the sound muted. Now I know why. It constantly beckoned for my attention if I was sitting at my laptop across the room.

It can be noisy, and distracting, but I jumped back and forth, trying to take care of both.

Today I take the laptop back, and hand it to the new girl with glee. Even though making extra money was nice, it was not worth doing it any longer.

My personal laptop brings me so much joy! There is no price tag for that. Everything I do on it, is because I have a yearning to do so. It houses my passion.

Sometimes we veer off the path to learn new things, or to help someone out. I am grateful today that I am quicker to get back on my path, and that I still choose joy over money. Stay the path.

 

This Ain’t Easy

If you had $20 to your name, how would you spend it? Years ago, I would spend that money on diapers. Today, I would spend $13 on my favorite candle, and the rest would be a toss up between a Pumpkin Spice Latte, or actual food.

Does that sound silly? I try to be a good steward of everything God gives me, including money. I think He knows, there are a lot of small things I would rather buy before food. It’s just not that important to me. A home that smells like fall from an amazing candle? The moment of savoring my favorite fall coffee drink? Those are important to me.

faithIt’s not easy living in the calling God gives you. God put a desire in me to write and that is what I do. Is it perfect grammar? I’m from Texas, it ain’t gonna be perfect.

I know one of my God given gifts is an Encourager. God prompted me once my legal separation began to start writing publicly. I have always kept a journal, but He wanted to show people my life. Walking through alcoholism and a divorce wasn’t easy, but it was possible. That is all my daughter and I need. Possible.

It is all thanks to God. He gets all the glory for it and that is what I’m here to share.

I’ve had the life of get up, take kids to school, go to work, pick kids up, eat dinner, go to bed and start all over. When it was time for my son to attend high school, the thought horrified me. He was such a good kid, I was afraid he would be eaten alive, so I homeschooled him. Then my daughters school closed down after her 3rd grade year, and I chose to homeschool her. That was the beginning of quality of life for us.sky

When she was younger, I would take her to work with me. As she got older, employers started to frown upon that, so God opened a door for me to work from home. When she turned 13, the beginning of her teenage years, I worked virtually for a friend of mine in California and still do, part time. It was less hours and less money, but the rewards!

That was when I found it to be true that we can make better choices and have a better life. My daughter took this picture of the sky behind our house. She goes outside almost everyday between 6 and 7 pm. The time she goes out depends on the colors reflecting in the house from outside. It’s the beauty factor that gets her attention.

This morning, I was going through a file I have for her in my email. In it was an email she sent a year ago, wishing me a Happy Birthday. The words that jumped off the page this morning were, “I want to be like you when I grow up.” This humbled me as gratitude just spilled out for this beautiful life God has given us. Once again, this must be God.
 

A Better Way to Live~Day 1

I woke up unreasonably early this morning. Usually, I can roll over and fall back to sleep, but not this time. I felt led to go ahead and start typing this up at 4:00 am. If this is your first read, welcome to a season of encouragement! That’s right. I will be right here, encouraging you through the rest of this year! You are just in time for Day One. I am using suggestions from Og Mandino’s book, A Better Way to Live.

Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward toward the life God intended for you…with grace,strength, courage, and confidence.

One of the most powerful tools I utilize is a gratitude list.

Waking up early while the house is still quiet. Grabbing pen, paper, and coffee if desired, I start writing out the first thing that comes from my heart to my mind. It starts off slow and simple, like “I’m grateful for waking up”. The words start flowing, and before long I have listed quite a few words and phrases on a piece of paper. Make note of the date, because it’s fascinating to look back months from now to see where you were.

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If your mornings are crazy busy like mine were when my children were small, take note in your mind while driving to your destination. Even if you can only think of three things, ponder those throughout the day, and feel the gratitude for them.

If you’re reading this, you already have the beginning of your list. You woke up.

 

Quote is from, “A Better Way to Live”, by Og Mandino

Room For Great

It amazes me the people we allow to come into our lives. They influence our behavior more than we are willing to admit. I enjoy teaching people how to let go of unhealthy relationships. We all have relationships on many levels, but are they healthy for you? Are you feeling the three R’s? Refreshed, Renewed and Revitalized by these people in your life? If not, it’s time to let go and give ’em up!

Over the years, I’ve trained myself to ‘Never Give Up’. That is my screen saver on my laptop, so I’m reminded every time I glance at it, which is throughout the day. I have learned, if you want a great life, you have to give up what looks good to you. What looks good to me is a far cry to what looks good to God, and His plan for me. God is always showing off and out doing me! This prompts me to continually raise my standards and not get too comfortable with what I have. There is always better.

The power of Letting Go is a beautiful thing! I wrote down three affirmations daily for weeks. There is something about letting the words flow through you, onto paper that extinguishes the power of the situation. That along with a gratitude list is what caused a major shift in my life from good to great!

Lions

Every eagle has a nest. I’m very careful who I allow to enter my nest. It’s not a large nest, so no more than a handful of people fit comfortably.

I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog, but here is my criteria for nest dwellers. Look at the people closest to you. These are the people who influence your life the most, and ask yourself these questions about each one.

Does this person: Love you? Motivate you? Encourage you? Inspire you? Enhance you? Bring you happiness?

If you answered ‘NO’ to any of these, it’s time to look deeper. Let’s let go of good, so we have room for great.

Stalk Your Dreams

Years ago, I had this poster hanging on my office wall in plain view.

stalkingdreams

I had a successful business and worked it day in and day out. My office was gorgeous, as was the rest of the house. A well-known designer from Austin, TX came in and did her magic. I was probably living the majority of the populations dream, but was I living mine?

I don’t recall being happy. Here is something I learned the hard way. “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose”. C.S Lewis. That business slowly declined to the point where I had to let it go. A few months later, I had to let go of that magnificent house and a lot of its beautiful belongings. Did my dreams go too? Even though this was one of life’s hard lessons, the business was just a business and the material things were objects. No one can take away your dreams.

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No one can take them, but we can lose sight of them.

Life get’s in the way, and dreams get set aside or put up on a shelf. When life hits hard, its human nature to go into Survival’ mode. This is not a pretty place to be.

Looking back on those years, it’s obvious it was all a part of God’s plan to get me where I am today. I had to go through some pain but it was worth it. The choices I made with money and relationships were not wise, but needed. I can see everything God has given me, when I used to just take care of it. Today, I get to see, feel, and enjoy every moment! What is your dream?

Is it buried under life? I encourage you today to dig deep, uncover that dream, and then take a step toward it. Your dream is waiting on you.

Be Here Now

The one phrase that will make my skin crawl is, “Deal with it”. I don’t enjoy hearing that from someone’s mouth and directed toward me.

beherenow

That usually means they have provided or pointed out something distasteful in my life that needs to be resolved. Good things add goodness to my life.  If it’s not good, then I have a choice whether or not to keep it. Life happens fast, and the key that I have found, is to ‘deal’ with everything it throws at me immediately.

Being a woman, this usually brings up an emotion or two that I need to get a handle on first. If something happens unexpectedly, I have to sit back and look at it for what it is. Acknowledging how it’s making me feel, and sit with that feeling. To feel the present moment.

One thing I have found is you have to reach out and touch it. Whatever it is that’s bringing up this flood of emotion, whether it be anger, loneliness, panic, frustration, desperation, overwhelm…whatever it is, just touch the root cause. Every cause has calmness on the other side.  Just feel it out.

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Something or someone is trying to get your attention! We need to pay attention to every moment. When I reach toward it, what’s waiting for me is exactly what I needed, whether I knew it or not. It’s not scary. We just talk through our sides and come to an agreement that works for both of us. Then comes my favorite part….LETTING GO! Once it’s discussed, I get to let it go, and have more room for what’s next.

This is present moment living for me. I feel it, reach toward it, talk it through and move on. This prevents worry, grudges, procrastination, disappointment and all the nastiness of life. If you don’t reach toward it, you will probably put it in a box up on a shelf to deal with later. This is not healthy. It never goes away like that, and it will sit and wait. This also kills growth and nothing good grows in darkness. Face whatever is coming after you, because somehow, it needs you right now, in this present moment.